Overweight and Obesity



Being overweight or obese is generally considered as having excess body fat beyond levels that are considered healthy.

 
  • Overview
  • Action Plan
  • Ask The Doctor
  • Related Info
  • Success Stories

Overview


More people in the world than ever before are considered overweight or obese. This problem has grown to such a level that it has become an epidemic and unfortunately common in modern society.Obesity is defined as having excessive body fat with a body mass index 30 or higher. Most healthy individuals’ BMIs typically fall between 18.5 and 23. BMI is an indicator of body fatness calculated from a person’s height and weight.

BMI=703×weight (lbs.)/height (in.)2

In the U.S., the vast majority of individuals are considered overweight (with a loose definition being a BMI > 25), and more than 1/3 of adults are considered obese.1

Populations in developing countries alike are experiencing this growing trend of becoming more overweight as dietary habits change to include a wide variety of easily accessible, high calorie, processed foods and animal products.

The way one ends up becoming overweight is by regularly eating foods that are low in micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) and low in fiber, and instead, eating high-calorie, processed, and high-fat foods. Shifting away from our body’s natural attraction for whole natural plant foods and instead towards low micronutrient and low fiber foods creates an addictive pattern to where we do not feel well unless we eat these rich, processed foods with a higher caloric density. The result is lack of instinctual caloric control, and excess fat is stored on the body.

Reconnecting with natural whole plant foods, and including many of the higher micronutrient dense foods (such as in a Nutritarian eating style) will supply important nutrients (besides just fat, protein, and carbohydrates alone) and balance the body’s natural instincts, taking away constant hunger and addictive drives. This makes it much easier to prevent excessive calorie intake and body fat build-up. The result…you lose weight!

 
References
  1. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA 2014, 311:806-814.

Action Plan


A Nutritarian eating style is simply providing the body with what it needs for excellent health, normalizing hunger, and inhibiting fat storage and as a result, reaching an ideal weight naturally. Learn more about the basics of a Nutritarian eating style here on this website with more details in my book, The End of Dieting.

Be sure to strictly eliminate any processed foods (any foods that do not include the whole food), as well as dramatically reduce animal product intake (perhaps to none for the first 4-6 weeks) in order to reset your body’s system and taste preferences. That means no oils or spreads, no sugar, and no refined grains (white flour, white rice, etc.).

Listening to your body’s true hunger and satiety (fullness) signals is very important as part of reaching this natural relationship with whole foods in order to avoid overeating, even on healthy foods. In order to achieve a weight loss pattern, it is important to not snack. Focus your effort on satisfying hunger at meal times (typically 3 meals per day) in order not to snack.

There is no need to limit the quantity of most plant foods such as any green vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, summer squashes, and many other low calorie plants. Grains and other high glycemic starchy foods, such as potatoes, as well as high fat plant foods, such as nuts and seeds, may need to be limited in order to maximize weight loss.

Exercising is healthful, but it is important to note that exercise alone is not a successful strategy for weight loss. Focus most of your efforts on structuring your dietary habits to match the Nutritarian eating style, and create delicious and nutritious recipes that you enjoy.

 

Ask The Doctor


The following are sample questions from the Ask the Doctor Community Platinum and higher members can post their health questions directly to Dr. Fuhrman. (All members can browse questions and answers.)

Q.

I know that I sometimes eat to alleviate anxiety and boredom, and also that I don’t seem to have any concept of hunger or satiety. I hope to experience true hunger at some point, but meanwhile, it is really almost impossible for me to judge when and how much I should eat to maintain a healthy weight/ lose weight. Under these circumstances, would you advise that I eat strictly by the clock, e.g. every 5 hours, three meals per day, or just limit myself to a certain amount of food per day to be eaten whenever I think I might be in need of food. Or should I do both?

A.

Yes, eat three meals a day. Do not snack, and do not eat until you are uncomfortably full, just comfortably satisfied. Try to stop eating before you feel any stomach fullness or discomfort. Remember, if you are following my guidelines and eating large salads, fresh fruit, and large portions of cooked greens and other G-BOMBS, it will be very difficult to overeat on calories, as you will get full before you can eat too many calories.

 
Q.

I am on day 4 of your program, and I want to lose 20 pounds. Beyond weight loss, I want to age healthfully and eat in a way that I can maintain the rest of my life.

Prior to discovering your program, I was following a low carb, high fat, high animal protein diet for about 6 months. I ate a lot of red meat, bacon, cheese, etc. I ate very little fruit and vegetables. I was obsessed with counting carbs.

I have noticed that I feel hungry a lot. Is this normal for someone that is coming off a low carb plan? My hunger seems to happen about 2 hours after breakfast or lunch. I will grab some nuts or fruit or one of your bars.

Should I just give this plan a chance to work and not worry about being hungry and snacking right now?

A.

Welcome! What you are experiencing will pass quickly. Those symptoms are what I call “toxic hunger” that is related to enhanced detoxification of waste products when active digestion ceases. You can learn more about this by reading my books, Eat For Health or The End of Dieting. Now that your diet is rich in phytonutrients, fiber, and healthy fats, this will abate soon. Stay with the plan and if you need to snack because you are feeling too ill, avoid nuts and snack on lower calorie fruits or vegetables.

 
Q.

I am 34 years old and incredibly overweight. I’m not currently on any medications and my blood results aren’t terrible. My doctor seems to never address my weight, which up until this point has led me to believe I am healthy as a horse. As I get older and see my parents struggling with their health, I am realizing on my own that my weight is not healthy! I think I’ve been in denial all these years, but I am ready to learn why staying overweight as I am is detrimental to my future health. Thank you.

A.

This is a major problem within the modern healthcare system. Most physicians lack the knowledge surrounding proper nutrition, or if they are aware they often do not have the time or motivational and addiction counseling skills to help. Keep in mind, most diets do not result in long-term, sustained benefits, so we can’t blame the physicians. Bottom line, you must learn the right information that can save your life, your doctor is not going to do this for you. Our medical system is based on treating people with drugs not on education, motivation and counseling behavioral change. A Nutritarian diet is unique as it addresses all these hindrances to successful and permanent weight control.

Maintaining your current weight will ultimately lead to serious medical problems. It may not happen this year or even 10 years from now, but ultimately medical problems such as diabetes, cancer, and/or a heart attack are in your future. The good news is you can take control of your health destiny and avoid what your parents are experiencing. I encourage you to purchases one of my books such as Eat to Live, Eat for Health, or The End of Dieting, and read it cover to cover. If you follow the recommendations in the book, the pounds will fall off, you will be satisfied, and you will be on the path to a long, healthy and comfortable life.

 
Q.

I am morbidly obese. I have tried every diet under the sun. I lose weight only to gain it all back again. I feel like I am just destined to be overweight. Why is a Nutritarian diet different than others I’ve tried?

A.

The average person is out of touch with hunger and satiety signals and severely addicted to the disease-promoting foods they are eating. When a person tries to lose weight by just eating smaller amounts of the same foods they are used to eating, they are not satisfied and suffer from cravings and withdrawal symptoms like headaches and light-headedness.

When you eat a Nutritarian diet and the overall nutritional quality of your diet has improved, you will soon no longer experience addictive cravings and withdrawal symptoms . Once you are providing your body with adequate amounts of micronutrients, the desire to overeat will fade away. You will feel more satisfied and your taste buds will become accustomed to and prefer healthful foods, thus helping you achieve and sustain a healthy weight.

With the focus on high-nutrient density foods, you will feel satisfied on fewer calories AND the foods actually promote the loss of fat from the body. Some falsely believe it is not favorable to lose lots of weight quickly, but when you use a Nutritarian diet to flood the body with nutrient-rich food, it is normal and healthful to lose lots of weight relatively quickly. The average obese individual loses 25 pounds in the first two months, and many people have lost over 100 pounds in the first 12 months, and kept it off.

 

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Subtopics

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